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Building quality teaching with Māori children in mainstream schools. Stuart McNaughton Woolf Fisher Research Centre The Univeristy of Auckland Hui Taumata M ā tauranga (March 8 th 2003). What we know: the research evidence on teaching.

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building quality teaching with m ori children in mainstream schools

Building quality teaching with Māorichildren in mainstream schools

Stuart McNaughton

Woolf Fisher Research Centre

The Univeristy of Auckland

Hui Taumata Mātauranga

(March 8th 2003)

what we know the research evidence on teaching
What we know: the research evidence on teaching
  • Teaching can make a major difference to children's achievement at school.
  • Over and above a child’s background, family, and school characteristics.
  • An example: the transition to school
    • transitions impact on children’s development (eg early progress in reading)
    • connections between whānau, early childhood settings and school are significant
    • can teaching be made more effective in decile 1 schools?

‘Picking up the Pace: Effective literacy interventions for accelerated progress over the transition into decile 1 schools’Phillips, P., McNaughton, S. & MacDonald, S. (2001)

Primary and early childhood centres

  • 73 teachers, 12 (decile1-3) primary schools
  • 37 teachers, 15 early childhood centres
  • 415 children (90% Māori and Pasifika)

General features of professional development

  • in teams with leaders
  • release for half days, two-weekly for 6 months
  • focus on being expert (knowledge and strategies) – data based
  • Specific activities and management
initial descriptions showed
Initial descriptions showed….?
  • Children rapidly learned letters and sounds
  • But slow progress reading and writing texts
  • Teachers’ expectations generally low
  • Teachers’ knowledge generally needed enriching:
    • of children
    • of tasks
    • of learning / teaching
  • Some teachers making a difference
  • Early childhood experience important
how did the professional development with school teachers affect learning
How did the professional development with school teachers affect learning?
  • Rapid development by 6,0 years in all areas (broad based)
  • Above, at or near national levels
  • Some schools better than others:
    • A learning community
    • With committed professional leadership
    • Knowledgeable (of children, of learning patterns, of community)
    • Good management
a proposal
A proposal
  • We know many of the attributes of effective teaching in mainstream schools
  • Generally
  • For Māori children in particular
  • Especially in literacy at early levels
general attributes teachers as experts
General attributes: teachers as experts
  • Have general strategies with the goals of:
    • incorporating a child’s world into teaching ~ learning
    • enhancing a child’s awareness of the classroom world
  • Use appropriately deliberate acts of teaching
    • such as feedback
    • and monitoring / assessment
  • Are highly knowledgeable
    • of the what and the how of teaching / learning
    • of children’s worlds
    • of what is possible (high expectations)
looking at where teaching happens
Looking at where teaching happens

T: Can you read me your story? You read me your story (writes date - top of the page).

M: (reads his story aloud, points to each word)… ‘I see the cat’.

T: Oh good boy. Very good boy! (Writes out the word ‘cat’ correctly beneath his attempt ‘can’)…that’s a very good story.

M: (comments)… cat’s outside.

T: (checking)… your cat’s outside?

M: (nods)

T: Does he sleep outside?

M: (nods)

T: What does he do while you’re at school?

M: Having kai.

T: Having kai! Is he? Having kai while you’re at school?

M: (nods)

T: OK. Can you tell me a story about your cat?

M: My cat is… (pause)… having his kai.

T: Alright then (teacher writes ‘my’)..You can write ‘cat’… ‘my cat’. Leave a nice big space (indicating where to leave gaps. M proceeds to write the letters ‘ca’ then


T: pauses)… Can you hear the sound …cat…t…t (emphasising the ‘t’).

M: ‘t’?

T: (nods)

M: (writes the letter ‘t’)

T: (says the next word)…’is’ You write ‘is’ while I come back … My cat is..? What? (M pauses, she asks).. Right at this moment my cat is doing what?

M: Eating!

T: Good boy (indicates where to write ‘eating’).

M: (writes the letter ‘t’, then pauses)

T: (writes the word ‘eating’ for M, says) ..My cat is eating? What’s he eating?

M: Kai!

T: Yeah good boy.

M: (thinking about ‘k’, he hesitates, the teacher helps to sound out the letter)

T: Kai… k (sounding the letter) for kai. Can you make the ‘k’?

M: (shakes his head)

T: No, no, never mind (writes the word ‘kai’ and continues to write the last word ‘outside’ for M)

building on opportunities
Building on opportunities

Teacher This story’s about “Claire’s Dream” … there she is

(showing the front cover). She’s dreaming about something

… got her eyes open, but she’s (day) dreaming about

something. Or it’s called “The girl who wanted to play


(To the class) … Hands up those who like rugby?

Hona (calls out) I play rugby!

(She doesn’t hear Hona. Other children call out… I like

rugby,… I play rugby.)

Teacher Good. Hands down. (Begins to read the story) …

“I’m going to be an All Black”

(To the class) … What’s an “All Black”?

Hona (calls out) … I play rugby!

Teacher(Doesn’t hear Hona, continues reading to the end

of the story) … The end…The beginning.

(To the class) …What does that mean?

Children (Calling out)… The end of the story? Last page?

One page left? …

Teacher I think it means, that’s the end of our story, but this is the beginning of Claire’s rugby.

the teachers voices
The teachers’ voices
  • “Before…we’ve always had these kids down there (early reading books) and we’ve kept them down there.”
  • “I realise that they actually know more about book knowledge than I was aware of before, like where a book starts and ends, all that sort of thing. I wasn’t really focusing on that before, but now…I can see kids come in with that knowledge already.”
  • “We all accept the responsibility of working hard and making the system work and we accept the responsibilities of meeting together and we also enjoy and accept the responsibility of going into each other’s room to see if we can help each other that way and it’s the responsibility of being prepared to drop old ideas or old methods to find the time to fit in all the components and that’s been a struggle.”
  • “We’re doing it all together, we can actually talk about it and discuss things and it sort of gives you a license to sort of think about things and I’m thinking all the time now, how I want to do things in my classroom. I change things around and try to make it better”
  • “It was more sort of intensive teaching and it got the children up and running with their reading very quickly…They were reading virtually the first day”
what is needed to develop the highest quality teaching for m ori children with m ori communities
What is needed to develop the highest quality teaching: for Māori children with Māori communities?
  • Building a focused capacity in schools:
    • research ~ practice partnerships
    • eg Woolf Fisher Research Centre
  • Incentivising local teaching expertise through learning communities:
    • Academic leadership, school ~ community clusters
    • eg Leadership programmes
  • A knowledgeable system – for high expectations, and accountability:
    • taking responsibility for effective learning
    • eg National Administration Guidelines